We asked you to show us your "blue ink," and many of you responded with images of your law enforcement tattoos that carry a personal significance regarding a fallen partner, inspirational Biblical reference, or special accomplishment. Photos courtesy of PoliceMag.com readers.
November 21, 2012
Tattoos have become very popular in the law enforcement and military communities. Officers who get inked often choose a tattoo of something that has great meaning to them, such as family, their faith, or a close friend. View a few examples of tattoos. Photos courtesy of Steve Winterstein of Five-O Tattoo in Elburn, Ill.
November 7, 2012
The Aryan Brotherhood, which is also known as "AB" or "The Brand," is a primarily white prison gang with about 15,000 members in and out of prison. According to the FBI, the gang makes up only one percent of the prison population, but is responsible for 18 percent of all murders in the federal corrections system. Members use symbols in their tattoos such as swastikas, SS lightning bolts, the number 666, and Celtic imagery.
August 7, 2009
In addition to advertising gang membership, tattoos provide other details about the bearer. For the incarcerated, images of chains and locks represent the loss of freedom; an hourglass or clock face without hands indicate doing time; a string of numbers may be an inmate's prison ID; one laughing face, one crying face means play now, pay later or my happy life, my sad life; a tombstone with numbers may indicate years of incarceration; the face of a female crying usually means someone on the outside is waiting for them. Caption information provided by POLICE gang expert Richard Valdemar.
August 7, 2009
Tattoos are an excellent tool for law enforcement and corrections officers to use to identify known or suspected gang members. This gallery includes examples of tattoos worn by predominanly Latino gangs such as the Mexican Mafia, MS-13, and the Latin Kings. The number "13" is used because M (or La Eme) is the thirteenth letter of the alphabet and is used to signify the Mexican Mafia, which uses Sureños—gangs that swear allegiance to the Mexican Mafia—to carry out its orders from prison.
August 5, 2009
Gang members are usually decorated with the marking of their sets, super-gangs, and affiliated prison gangs. Their bodies are also often marked with tattoos that are generic prison symbols that you will find on just about any inmate. The following slide show is a quick look at some tattoos used by some predominately African-American gangs with origins in California.
June 29, 2009